Photo & Article by Heidi Grzesina
Port Colborne High School (PCHS) representatives recently attending a City Council meeting announced their declaration of 2015 being “The Year of the Blue Bear”.
Students Taylor Fraser, Jack Feagan, Zack Piazza, and Rebecca Boulton joined PCHS principal, Dr. Ann Kennerly and PCHS program leader for the arts, Amy Converset to present councillors with an overview of the school’s ongoing successes.
“Port High has been supporting students and the city for nearly 100 years. In that time, tens of thousands of students, just like myself, have learned, volunteered and succeeded thanks to PCHS,” said Feagan introducing the school’s presentation to Council.
“Our young people play a critical role in every community,” said Kennerly.
“They volunteer at service clubs and other organizations doing good work in the community. They support business through our co-op program and by working at local part time jobs. They support the local economy with the money they spend. They champion important causes.
But most importantly, young people grow into citizens and leaders entrusted with shaping the future of our city and of our world. In fact, I know there are several Port High graduates sitting around the council table tonight.
Mayor Maloney is a Port High grad!
PCHS prides itself on its tradition of excellence, strong community base and its innovative use of modern teaching and technology to best serve the students of Port Colborne and Wainfleet.”
An impressive list of successes included the following:
•Port High’s EQAO scores are 22 per cent above the provincial and board average in applied math
•Successful competitions in short video production, essay and poetry writing, and artistic competitions
•Winning ‘Gold’ in the District School Board of Niagara’s (DSBN) French speaking competition for the last six years, including sweeping the junior and senior competitions for each of the last two years.
•There are eight Blue Bears who have won and qualified at zone, Southern Ontario, region and finally represented PCHS at the All Ontario Championships. Eight is the highest total of any local high school.
•Both Junior and Senior Girls Basketball teams clinched the southern Ontario regional SOSSA championship title in just the past few years.
•The Senior Girls team won the consolation championship in a recent Tribune tournament.
“I would respectfully say to you this evening, the trend at PCHS with regard to its academics, sports, arts and technology programs is a very positive and upward trend ? something that the City and our parents, teachers and students have every right to be proud of… “ added Kennerly.
This year we have added our 5th Specialist High Skills Major program in Hospitality and Tourism,” said Converset.
“Port Colborne High School also has SHSM programs for our students in Arts and Culture, Health and Wellness, Transportation Technology and Manufacturing. In this way, we can continue our impressive record of graduating more students with an SHSM designation than any other school in the District School Board of Niagara per head of population.”
“In our tech area, we shine in construction, transportation technology, culinary arts and cosmetology…and ladies and gentlemen, Port Colborne High School does more than shine in Manufacturing technology…….it dazzles. In fact, there is clear evidence that our program has gained national recognition for both the Blue Bears and the City Port Colborne.”
“Consider our record in Manufacturing:
– Seven Southern Ontario Welding Championships in a row,
– All Ontario Provincial Champions – three out of the last four years,
– Canadian National GOLD Champions two out of the last four years.
These accomplishments have brought us to a point where the evidence is clear PCHS has the best technology program not only in Port Colborne but also in all of Canada – second to none!”
“Further evidence of how well your community high school works with students and prepares them for the next step after high school is found every year at graduation,” added Boulton. “During our graduation ceremonies, Port High consistently sees:
– Over 30 per cent of our graduates earn a Specialist High Skills Major designation,
– Forty per cent of our graduates earn Gold and Silver medals for academic excellence
– At each graduation over $23,000 in community scholarships and bursaries are awarded to our students every year!!”
“ We would like you ALL to know that you have an OPEN INVITATION to attend and celebrate with us as honorary Blue Bears, to come to Port High, come to our track meets, come in to our classrooms, attend our next Skills competition – be part of the pride of PCHS,” said Kennerly in conclusion.
“As our motto says: “AD ASTRA PER ARDUA! To the stars with hard work”.